Can Your Agency Be a One-Stop Shop?

You Might Not Have a Choice If You Want to Survive

By Published on .

Bart Cleveland Bart Cleveland
In the past, meeting a client's every need was accomplished by its ad agency contracting certain tasks to specialists. Today, fragmented media and the personal-communication revolution (how media is consumed today) create a need for clients to employ agencies that can act as, for lack of a better term, a one-stop shop. Agencies are required to do more for less with a greater expectation to meet projected goals. The pressure to deliver has created a situation of both opportunity and danger. The opportunity to execute in-house offers more control over the brand elements and more revenue to the agency. The danger is incompetence.

Unfortunately, many small agencies are lacking in one or more skill critical to successful marketing. For example, some have online capabilities, but aren't capable planners. Others have media services, but aren't capable in online development. Obviously, the agency that is proficient in all areas has a distinct advantage.

It has become increasingly difficult to grow a small agency without comprehensive capabilities. Don't believe it? Research how many online development companies, PR firms and design studios are now marketing their full-service marketing capabilities. The lines are blurred between us because of what is needed to successfully market in today's world.

Our agency has been investing in broadening our capabilities in services we previously contracted. The response from our clients and our new-business success is confirming we are on the right track.

Apathy is your enemy. Don't let past successes give you a false sense of security. Don't allow long-standing relationships to be confused for loyalty. Clients need more and small agencies will either meet that need or will have to bow out. Parallel industries are morphing to meet new demands. I still hear about agencies that don't want to give up traditional advertising solutions. I'm baffled by this attitude. It's their funeral.

Investing in your agency can seem foolhardy in this economy. However, if your agency has not yet begun to evolve, consider the cost. Like typesetters in the mid-80s many agencies will wake up one day with a product that no one wants to buy. Those typesetters that embraced the new technology survived, even thrived. The others went the way of the Dodo. It was a simple matter of survival of the fittest. Our industry is no longer competing in the 100-yard dash. It's a decathlon. What kind of training regimen is your agency on?

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